So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God.
God is righteous and we are not! When we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior, it’s His righteousness which is imputed or freely given to us because of our faith in Him! And because we are not righteous, try as we might our anger is not a righteous anger. And contrary to what the world and Satan would have us believe our emotions do not determine right or wrong. Our emotions do not justify or condone angry behavior. And more importantly, our emotions do not determine reality. Therefore, as followers of Jesus, what we say, when we say it and how we say it can affect our Christian witness. Our words can turn others away from the Gospel of Christ and back to a fallen world at enmity with God. Those whom we did not realize were watching us go through the trial at hand. Our behavior during a trial can either shine the light of Christ to those who are watching or turn others away from Jesus and drive them back into a fallen world that is passing away. A world that wants nothing more than their complete destruction.
Moreover, during times of trial, Satan will often seek to create an emotional response in us. He does so in order to get us to be slow to listen and quick to speak. And by doing so he can cause us to be quick to anger and quick to turn others away from Christ because of our actions. Now this doesn’t mean we let people get away with sin or hurting others. But it does mean in our day to day life and interactions with others, we are to let God’s wisdom and the Holy Spirit guide our tongue and not our emotions. This is why James in this section of scripture is giving us a reminder as to the godly conduct for us who follow Christ. This reminder is necessary because the Bible tells us that what the tongue speaks comes from the depths of a person’s heart. Therefore James is also reminding us to reflect on who Jesus is, what He has done for us and who we are in Christ. In addition, these instructions from James, given by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, will help to soften our hearts and make them a better, more fertile ground in which to receive and grow the word of God in our hearts and minds.